People search the internet to find answers for any sort of questions that they have. They consider search engines as a friend, doctor, expert, specialist and encyclopedia to find more information. The searches can be with a word, phrase or even a sentence. These search terms are called “Keywords” in the search engine world. These keywords are the inputs to generate the search engine result pages. Results on search engine pages are triggered by user generated queries which are also known as keywords.
Recently, I visited a famous buffet restaurant in South East Melbourne for lunch with my family and friends. After lunch, everybody exceptionally commented about the green apple salad, even though other selections were delicious too. The green apple salad was crispy, fresh, healthy and tasty. Coming back home, I searched the internet to find recipes for apple salads. The search term or keywords in this scenario can be “apple”, “green apple”, “green apple salad ”, “recipes for green apple salad”, “Healthy and easy recipes for green apple salad” and many more. I ended up using the search keyword “recipes for green apple salad” and I found what I was looking for.
While searching on the internet, keywords can be used with various intentions. More generic keywords generate broader results. In the example below, the keyword “apple” can be a company, a red apple or a green apple. Precise keyword searches provide better targeted results. In the below example you may notice that long tail keywords provide better output.
Keyword selection process in search engine optimisation (SEO) plays a pivotal role in achieving return on investments (ROI). It’s like an architectural drawing to construct a house you are dreaming off. The structure of the house is built upon this drawing and any mistake made in the drawing will make an impact on the final output. Similarly, if you do not select the keywords carefully in line with your business objectives, it will make an impact on the desired outcome. This is because all the content for target pages including text and images, are crafted in line with the selected keywords.
Finding the right keywords in SEO involves planning, process and forecasting. We need to think like the visitors of our website to forecast search terms. At the same time, keep in mind the business objectives along with the return on investment. We need to ask ourselves questions like – “What are customers searching for to find my business?, What type of searches will bring value to my business?” Answers to these types of questions will shed light to into insights for keyword strategies.
Let’s discuss some key factors in keyword selection strategies.
1. Understand the importance of keyword
All products and services offered by a business may not be important, especially if a business is selling multiple products. Select a bunch of products or categories, otherwise known as “bread and butter segments” at the preliminary stage. These segments will be the core business products where businesses make more sales and returns. Identifying these segments will be the first step and it will help to prioritise the significance of keywords within these segments. Remember, not all segments and all keywords are equally important to any business.
2. Select Keywords with good phrases
Look for keywords with good phrases rather than broad keywords. Don’t be lured by volume. For example if you are selling shoes online, rather than optimising for the keyword “shoes” keywords like “black shoes online”, “men’s black shoes” “buy shoes online” will drive more qualified traffic. These keywords are the phrases to find the desired target audience who will improve ROI. Look for quality rather than quantity.
3. Finding keywords with good phrases
First of all, there are many keyword tools available in the market to help with the keyword research. They include Google Keyword Planner, Wordtracker and Moz keyword explorer. Google Keyword Planner is a free tool and is widely used by search marketers. Submit keywords or phrases to one of these tools and they will provide important data including average monthly search volume, expected cost per click (CPC) and keyword difficulty. Filter the keyword phrases with relatively decent search volume and a good CPC. Among these keywords identify the keywords which are closely related to the products and this can bring qualified traffic to the website.
4. Adding value to the keyword list
Google AdWords is a good platform to provide insights into conversions. If you are tracking leads or online sales through a Google AdWords account, the search terms tab in the keywords section will provide you with list. Furthermore, search in Google with a few selected keywords and look for competition in the market. If you are finding ads with your competitors, that’s an opportunity. Also manually type the keywords in the search bar and Google will prompt the keywords commonly searched. Organic search queries from your Google Search Console and Google Analytics also can provide insights in keyword selection process.
We have discussed some important factors in the keyword selection process. This list is not exhaustive. Search engine algorithms change every day and search changes in the search marketing industry.